Wednesday, April 19, 2006


The Stay

Part one: The early days:

We got to Adam's house around 3 o'clock. Both he and his fiance, Jenelle, had to work, so we were left to our own vices for the evening. I was hungry, and tired, and tired won. Carly and I decided the best course would be a nap, then something to eat, and an exploration of the town. Decisions, though, mean little without followthrough, and as tired as we both were we were more excited to see our new surroundings.

We headed out on foot (the only way to get to know a new area) along Historic 101. Although it is a highway, it serves as Lincoln City's mainstreet. We would later find it serves thus for almost every small town along the coast. Like many tourist towns, Lincoln City is foot traffic friendly, and filled of the brim with shops. Both Carly and I enjoy being lookieloos, and new storefronts only make that all the better. While most of the shops were junk filled, like sea shells shops and bauble shops, we found one that was just up our alley: Wine 101 It would be a clever title, for they do indeed teach people about wine, but every other store along the coast is somethingorother 101, whether they instruct or just take your cash.

At any rate, this was a delightful (can a straight guy use that word?) wine shop, with the best that Oregon has to offer. Of course, that means a lot of Pinot Noir, but I would not hold that against a whole state. Still, the selection was wonderful, and we even found some mead to bring home to our mythology friend (I really almost typed mythological friend, but he does, in fact, exist). The store owners introduced themselves as Bruce and Sue, and we soon found out Sue had lived in Grand Rapids. What a small world, we probably exclaimed. And it truly is, for we met about half a dozen other locals on our trip.

But the most extraordinary thing happened when we were about to leave. I asked if they had recommendations for good places to eat around town (I have found the best way to judge a town is through its food, and the best way to find that food is to ask a local), and Bruce suggested the Blackfish Grill. I thanked him, fully ready to depart, when he said we would never get in without reservations. Before I could even analyze why, in the first place, Bruce would tell me about a great place to eat, knowing full well I could not eat there, he was already on the phone. He reserved us a seat for half an hour later, and it actually worked. Of course, Bruce supplies the Blackfish grill with their wine, so I should not have been so amazed, but I was. For a total stranger to do that was uplifting. We, I have heard, have Minnesota Nice, but this was the first time I had seen any sort of nice, to this degree, anywhere. They had absolutely nothing to gain, and still they did this for us.

And the Blackfish was wonderful. It is more of a bistro than a grill, but that, I think, is a compliment. Grills are dirty, bistros are quaint. And the food...Oh the food was amazing. I ordered the catch of the day, because I like adventure, and a local micro brew (Rogue Ale, it is GREAT) and Carly had a steak. Later we would eat at a four star steak house, and Carly would remark that the steak at blackfish was much better. The service was topnotch, and they knew us from Bruce, and treated us like family. I got three huge pieces of battered black fish (go figure) and homemade chips that must have just been cut and fried in perfectly fresh veggie oil. It was a great way to cap off thirty hours of driving, I can tell you that. Two days later, playing pool in a bar, the waitress would come up to me and tell me she remembered me, and even remembered my order. WOW.

After that, we walked off our buzz on the beach (ok, so I had more than one rogue ale, and maybe I had some dessert wine, as well). The sun was setting, I think, and the sea (which Carly had never seen) was awe inspiring. In Lincoln City, the bay is actually more than a mile out at sea. That means it is windy as all heck, and the waves are huge and rolling. We searched, without luck, for Lincoln City's famous glass floats, and spent a good evening hand in hand on the beach.

Day two will bring us down the coast a bit, then back up, and through some horrible driving. But day one ends here, with us sleeping, and with me getting, for the first time, literally, in my life, 14 hours of sleep.

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